January 21, 2011: Solder of Fortune

It was -24F(-31C) here this morning. I was more than pleased by the fact that my classes for today were cancelled earlier in the week. I'm not sure my car would have started, anyway. Plus I finally found some time again for working on my RC projects.

I jumped right in this morning on soldering again. I did 2 more practice joints, then took the plunge. Here's video one:

Got the 2 sound caps replaced. I have a high pitched whistle when the volume is way up on the speaker. You can kind of always hear it in the headphones, but its volume changes with the rest of the volume. That went well enough so I proceeded with the video caps.

My method was to use the pliers to break the glue bond to the board, then use my fingers to wiggle the cap back and forth till the wires broke. Then I'd take the pliers again and bend the remaning cap wire till it broke off the old solder joints. I'd re-tin the pads and the cap legs, and put em together. Video two:

I could've stopped there but It was going well and I had the other caps. The pads were nice and clean on these so they went really quickly. Video three:

Some pics of the final product:

The only ones I had problems with were those that had definitely leaked. The solder did not want to stick to it at all, so I had to make sure they were as clean as I could get them. The others were a piece of cake. Some made me pretty nervous because the pads were very close to adjacent ones. Oh that and my hands were very shaky...too much coffee on an empty stomach I think. I actually braced my wrist on the edge of the table then put the handle end of the iron against my face to stabilize it.

Well pleased with my achievement, I thought I would take another crack at the programming. I consulted a friend of mine with my problems loading the program on the console. I noted some strange behavior with my flash cart during testing last weekend. I had a game on there that would hang when I tried to load it by itself. However, when I ran my program (which was right before it in the list), it seemed to hang for a couple of seconds, then proceed to load up the next game in the list!

So my amigo pointed out to me that it was entirely likely that my program was indeed running, but it was also ending instead of going into a game loop, so then it would just proceed to the next thing. He suggested I add an infinite loop in there. Thusly:

/*My First PCE Program*/

#include "huc.h"

main ()
        int i;

        set_color_rgb(1, 7, 7, 7);
        set_font_color(1, 0);
        put_string("RetroChallenge", 9, 12);
        put_string("2010 Winter Warm Up!", 6, 13);
        put_string("By Togart", 11, 14);

        for ( i = 0; i < 10; i++ ) {
                i = 3;

I loaded that onto my cart and...


So, what's next? Well I would like to get those other two caps replaced on the sound board, but I'm guessing I won't get the parts until it's almost too late (not to mention time crunch). I would also like to do some more with the TG16 programming, now that it seems it works! I'm not going to say any more about that.

I still need to get on with the Retr0Bright business. I spent a day continuing the process of getting my office cleaned up again, and managed to find my black light bulbs. I have three instead of two, howdy doody. Assuming I can find a suitible fixture for the three of them, they should do the trick.

A pretty good day!

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